News & Publications
November 2, 2007
Work on New MSU Billings Soccer Field Could Begin Next Week
Community initiative raises $300,000 in pledges for state-of-the-art, all-weather facility
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Work could begin as early as next week on a new state-of-the art, all-weather soccer field at the Montana State University Billings College of Technology campus.
Construction bids for the $750,000 soccer field facility will be opened on Tuesday, Nov. 6, said Eakle Barfield, director of facilities services at MSU Billings. If a bid is accepted, he said, work could begin as early as Wednesday.
Private sector funding for the project is ongoing through a collaborative university/community partnership. The project cleared $300,000 in pledges in late October and MSU Billings Chancellor Ron Sexton gave approval this week for the project to move forward.
“The community response for
this has been remarkable,” Sexton said. “As with
other endeavors now under way at the university
— from development of new academic programs to
completion of a new building at the COT — the
The new facility at MSU
Billings will be a fantastic resource for the
two youth organizations in town: Magic City
Soccer and Yellowstone Soccer Association, said
Don Trentham, MSU Billings director of soccer
and head women’s coach. In the spring and
summer, youth teams will be able to practice and
play on the field. In addition, MSU Billings
will host camps and clinics for youth players
throughout the year on the new field and
officials said the university hopes to host as
many high school games as possible during their
fall season. The new facility will enable
soccer to become a year-round sport in
The project calls for a college-regulation, all-weather artificial turf field (120 yards x 72 yards) with lights so that games, practices and community programs can take place there year-round. New team benches, bleachers and fencing are also on the drawing board.
The endeavor started about a year ago
when Trentham met with some supporters to discuss the
possibilities of building a new field. The current field did
not meet the growing interest in soccer in
MSU Billings is in its 12th
season of NCAA Division II men’s and women’s
soccer. The university has the only men’s
intercollegiate soccer program in the state, and
it was the second of now five women’s
intercollegiate soccer programs in
Trentham said that in order to continue to attract high quality, top soccer recruits and exceptional student athletes to the university and to entice highly ranked teams to compete against them, excellent facilities are needed.
The current soccer facility has had playing surface and configuration challenges both in the local community and within the collegiate soccer community, he said, and the current playing surface is well below the standard to which collegiate teams are accustomed. The safety of the university’s student athletes and those of the competing teams is a central part of the project.
“This is a great step forward for our program,” Trentham said Thursday, after getting the go-ahead for development. “Our teams are getting it done on the field and the community is getting it done for this facility.”
The men’s team finished the season 13-4-1 overall and 10-2-1 against regional opponents. MSU Billings is now fifth in the NCAA regional poll. Following the NCAA Men’s Soccer Committee selection show on Nov. 5, the top four teams in the Far West Region will be invited to the NCAA Tournament hosted Nov. 8-12 by the No. 1 seed. The Yellowjackets will know by Monday if they will continue with post-season games.
The women’s soccer team — currently
9-9-1 — finishes its season at
The university agreed last winter to move forward with the new soccer initiative, but Sexton said the funding needed to come from private donations. The MSU Billings Foundation board of trustees agreed to coordinate the soccer facility project and lend its fund-raising expertise to the cause.
Marilynn Miller, president
and CEO of the MSU Billings Foundation, said she
knew support existed in
“The response has been incredible because it’s been so quick,” Miller said. “People understand the vision. They’re getting it. Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the world and in the state and they believe in this and are rallying behind it because they see it as an asset for the community at large.”
Trentham and Miller said the leadership
of community volunteers Larry VanAtta and Greg McDonald was
invaluable in moving the initiative forward. VanAtta, senior
vice president-financial consultant with RBC Dain Rauscher,
was one of the leaders on the committee that helped comb the
community for donations. McDonald, whose family runs Wendy’s
“I love good causes and the kids will really benefit from this one,” said VanAtta.
An estimated 500 young people
participate in Magic City Soccer each year and about 2,500
children participate in the Yellowstone Soccer Association
program each spring and fall. All the soccer coaches at MSU
Billings work with
Unfortunately the soccer facilities
that are available in
“I’m proud of the city of
If begun next week, the soccer field project will be one of three major construction projects at the COT. Work on a new $11 million, 48,000 square-foot health sciences and general education academic building is nearing its final phases and a $175,000 project to improve the COT entrance is under way.
For questions about how to assist the fund-raising endeavor for the new soccer facility, contact the MSU Billings Foundation at 657-2244.